GE stock has hit bottom after new CEO Culp’s hiring, analyst says

RBC Capital analyst Deane Dray turned bullish on General Electric Co., suggesting Tuesday it had hit bottom, after the company replaced its CEO with someone known for his “operating excellence.”

Deane raised his rating to outperform, after being at neutral since Nov. 14, 2017, which is when the company announced its transformation plan. He raised his stock price target to $15, which is 24% above Monday’s closing price, from $13.

The stock

GE, +0.46%

slipped 0.5% in morning trade, pulling back after the previous session’s 7.1% surge.

On Monday, the shares rocketed as much as 16% intraday before paring gains, after the struggling industrial conglomerate said Chief Executive John Flannery was being replaced, after just 14 months in the role, by outsider and former Danaher Corp.

DHR, -0.27%

CEO Lawrence Culp. The stock rallied even though the announcement included a profit warning and an expected impairment charge of as much as $23 billion.

See also: GE replaces CEO and investors cheer, despite a profit warning and huge charge.

Dray said he has “deep respect” for Culp’s leadership and relentless focus on “operating excellence” and accountability. He said that while it will take time for Culp to assemble his team, triage all the problems and put his imprint on the break-up plan, but investors can have confidence in his strategic vision.

“We believe that a floor has now been put in the stock,” Dray wrote in a research note to clients. “To be clear, there is still much to fix at GE, but the market can now have full confidence in the senior leader at the helm.”

From the end of May 2001, when Culp was named CEO of Danaher, until he retired from the company on March 1, 2015, Danaher’s stock soared 454%, while GE’s stock fell 47% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 66%.

GE’s move wasn’t such a surprise to Dray, but it did occur sooner than expected. In a note last week, he discussed the likelihood of a large impairment charge at GE Power, a cut to 2018 guidance and the prospects that Larry Culp could at some point be named CEO.

“The timing of the management change was obviously accelerated, and we applaud the board’s decisiveness,” Dray wrote.

Since Culp is GE’s first outsider to be named CEO, Dray said he wouldn’t be surprised if Culp tried to persuade his long-time chief financial officer at Danaher, Don Comas, to join him at GE.

In January, Danaher said Comas will transition to retirement and will be succeeded as CFO by Matthew McGrew, effective Jan. 1, 2019.

FactSet, MarketWatch

GE’s stock has tumbled 52.5% since Aug. 1, 2017, when Flannery took over the CEO reins from Jeff Immelt, through Monday, while the Dow had gained 21.3%. But investors shouldn’t solely blame Flannery for the stark underpeformance.

“Outgoing CEO John Flannery served 14 months at the helm, minding a thankless interim as communicator in chief for GE’s successive disclosures of enterprise failings in financial planning and analysis, none of his making,” wrote analyst Christopher Glynn at Oppenheimer. Such a role should be interim, as by definition thrust into a spiral of negativity; Mr. Flannery may have had enough.”

Don’t miss: Ousted CEO John Flannery pays the price for taking out GE’s trash.

Glynn said that although Culp is “rightly lionized as a standard bearer of CEO excellence,” he kept his rating at perform, which he’s had on the stock since upgrading it from underperform on June 26, 2018.

“The GE story remains one of heavy lifting,” Glynn wrote. Rather than an emphatic endorsement that GE can rapidly pivot to a stabilized baseline–that enough shoes have dropped–we concede that Culp accepting the appointment endorses the view that the frameworks confronting GE, while real and onerous, are not fundamentally unstable past a point.”

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Amazon boosts minimum wage to $15 for all workers following criticism



An employee packs a box at the Amazon fulfillment center in Robbinsville, N.J., in June. (Bess Adler/Bloomberg News)

Amazon.com announced Tuesday that it will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all employees, a move that comes after the tech giant faced harsh criticism for how much it pays its workers.

The pay increase will affect 250,000 Amazon employees and 100,000 seasonal employees hired at Amazon sites during the holiday season. It will affect full-time and part-time workers, as well as Whole Foods Market employees, and will take effect Nov. 1.

“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do and decided we want to lead,” Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos said in a statement. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”

Amazon has faced criticism over the years for what some say are poor working conditions in its warehouses, the hubs the company has set up nationwide for rapid delivery of online purchases. (Bezos also owns The Washington Post.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has lashed out at Amazon recently, saying the company does not pay a “living wage” and leaves some dependent on safety-net programs such as food stamps and Medicaid. He attacked Bezos, the world’s richest person, and introduced legislation called the “Stop BEZOS Act” to tax Amazon and other large employers to recoup the cost of public benefits paid to employees.

“Today I want to give credit where credit is due, and that is that Mr. Bezos and Amazon have done the right thing,” Sanders said in an interview Tuesday. “This is a significant step forward for many thousands of Amazon employees.”

Sanders said Amazon’s efforts were likely to have “a ripple effect all over the economy” by putting pressure on competitors like Walmart to follow suit.

“Not only does this make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Amazon employees, it also sends a message to the fast food industry, the airline industry and the retail industry in general that the time is now to begin paying workers a living wage,” he said.

In its announcement Tuesday, Amazon said it would lobby for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which has been $7.25 for a decade. The online giant is the country’s second-largest private employer, behind Walmart. Last month it became the country’s second publicly traded company to be valued at more than $1 trillion.

“We will be working to gain congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The current rate of $7.25 was set nearly a decade ago,” said Jay Carney, senior vice president of global corporate affairs for the company. “We intend to advocate for a minimum-wage increase that will have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families across this country.”

The Obama administration had called for raising the minimum wage to $10.10, but the proposal went nowhere during an era of divided government. Many business groups and conservatives argue that $15 an hour is too high, especially in places outside urban centers that have a lower cost of living.

Last month, Sanders introduced a bill calling on Amazon to pay a living wage to its employees, following reports that thousands of Amazon workers rely on federal assistance for food, housing and health care. The median Amazon worker was paid $28,446 last year, according to company filings, which translates to about $13.68 an hour.

“What Mr. Bezos has done today is not only enormously important for Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of employees, it could very well be … a shot heard around the world,” Sanders said. “I hope very much that other corporate leaders around the country will follow his example.”

Other companies also have moved to raise wages, particularly in this tight labor market. Target announced earlier this year that it would raise its minimum wage to $12 an hour with a plan to increase it to $15 by 2020. Walmart raised its minimum wage to $11 in January. Facebook also boosted its minimum wage for its contracted workforce — janitorial staff, food-service workers and other similar staff — to $15 an hour, while Costco now pays $14 an hour.

Amazon said on Tuesday that all employees, including those who already make $15 an hour, will receive pay increases as a result of its new policy. The Post reported last week that Amazon had begun giving raises of 25 cents to 55 cents an hour to workers at its fulfillment centers nationwide.

Read more:

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Amazon is doling out raises of as little as 25 cents an hour in what employees call ‘damage control’

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Delta Air Lines flight catches fire during aborted takeoff at JFK airport

More than 250 passengers and crew members were evacuated from a Delta Air Lines flight on Monday evening after a fire broke out in the wheel well.

SHIRTLESS ALASKA AIRLINES PASSENGER RESTRAINED, FORCIBLY REMOVED FROM FLIGHT

Delta Flight 420, leaving from JFK International Airport for Accra, Ghana, aborted takeoff after observing an issue with the airspeed indicator, causing the brakes to overheat and ignite the gear, The New York Post reports.

In total, 258 people — 250 passengers, 8 crew members — were evacuated via mobile stairs. A fire unit from the Port Authority Police soon responded to the scene to extinguish the fire, the Port Authority PBA confirmed on Twitter.

The same Twitter account also shared footage of what was described as a fire breaking out in the wheel well of the same aircraft a bit earier.

The small blaze was extinguished on the taxiway and no one was injured, a spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) confirmed to Fox News. There were no operational impacts to other flights, PANYNJ added.

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A representative for Delta Air Lines apologized in a statement:

“Delta apologizes to our customers onboard Flight 420 for delaying their travel. We are working to get customers to their destination as soon as possible.”

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Budget Airline Goes Bankrupt, Cancels Newark Airport Flights

NEWARK, NJ — A budget airline company operating out of Newark Liberty International Airport ended its service at the facility after declaring bankruptcy earlier this week.

Danish airline Primera Air suspended its service at Newark Airport, ceasing operations on Monday. All Primera flights in and out of Newark were canceled, including flights to Paris and London, Port Authority officials said.

The abrupt suspension reportedly left thousands of travelers in the U.S. and overseas stranded, including some of the airline’s crew members.

Primera canceled seven flights between the United States and Europe scheduled for Monday, USA Today reported. Those flights included: London Stansted-Washington Dulles and Washington Dulles to London; Paris to Toronto and Newark Liberty; London Stansted to Newark Liberty; and Toronto and Newark Liberty to Paris.

Customer service representatives were available at Newark Airport to assist customers who faced travel issues, authorities said.

At least one airline – Norwegian – offered stranded international passengers a Plan B to get home, announcing a 50 percent “repatriation” discount on its standard economy fare for travel until Oct. 14 (subject to availability).

Primera, which began as a charter provider in 2003, called the bankruptcy an “enormous disappointment.” The airline started offering low-cost flights from Stansted and Birmingham to North America – including Washington, Newark, and Toronto – earlier this year, BBC News reported.

According to a statement from the company:

“This is a sad day for all the employees and passengers of Primera Air. The company has been working relentlessly during the last months to secure the long-term financing of the airline. Not being able to reach an agreement with our bank for a bridge financing, we had no other choice than filing for bankruptcy.”

Primera stated:

“During the last two years, several unforeseen misfortunate events severely affected the financial standing of Primera Air. In 2017, the company lost one aircraft from operations due to severe corrosion problems and had to bear the total cost of rebuilding, resulted in a loss of more than 10 million euros. 2018 began with a fantastic start of our low-cost long-haul project with a brand-new Airbus 321neo fleet, however, due to severe delays of aircraft deliveries this beginning ended up being rocky and incredibly problematic: operational issues, cancelations of number of flights, loss of revenues are just a few to mention. In addition, to fulfill our obligations in front of passengers, Primera Air leased in aircraft and beared additional costs of over 20 million euros.”

The company continued:

“Weighting the potential losses due to future delivery delays, and the added exposure to our partners and lessors, and bearing in mind the difficult environment that airlines are facing now due to low prices and high fuel costs, we have decided to cease operations now, where it will have a smaller effect on our clients, due to the timing of the year, rather than increasing the exposure. Without additional financing, we do not see any possibility to continue our operations.”

Don’t forget to visit the Patch Newark Facebook page here. Learn more about posting announcements or events to your local Patch site here. Send local news tips and correction requests to eric.kiefer@patch.com

Photo: YouTube / Primera Air

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Facebook’s muddy response to last week’s hack may become the new norm

Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg answers questions about the improper use of millions of users' data by a political consultancy, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, in this still image taken from Reuters TV May 22, 2018










ReutersTV | Reuters

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg answers questions about the improper use of millions of users’ data by a political consultancy, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, in this still image taken from Reuters TV May 22, 2018

Frustrated posts from Facebook users point to confusion over the company’s Friday announcement that as many as 50 million accounts may have been compromised. Users of the social media platform want to know if their accounts were used and if so, how and by whom.

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Jailed Audi CEO Rupert Stadler fired as Volkswagen grapples with scandal fallout

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There’s a secret train for VIP’s at Disneyland – here’s how to ride it

DISNEYLAND has many hidden gems to discover – but did you know it has a secret train that you can ride on?

The Lilly Belle is a train car that was initially put into the park by Walt Disney, who was fascinated by them, to transport his VIP guests around.

 You can board the Lilly Belle - but only sometimes
You can board the Lilly Belle – but only sometimes
 A guard at the train station will be able to tell you if the train is in operation that day or not
A guard at the train station will be able to tell you if the train is in operation that day or not

It was designed to go on the Walt Disney World Railroad, a 1.5 mile track that circles the park.

The steam-powered railway line still exists today and has stops at Main Street, USA, Frontierland and Fantasyland’s Storybook Circus.

It takes more than 3.7million passengers around Disneyland each year and has four different trains, each with four cars, purchased by Walt Disney in Mexico.

Named after Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian, the Lilly Belle is a train car that dates back to 1928.

 The train was bought by Walt Disney, a rail enthusiast, in Mexico
The train was bought by Walt Disney, a rail enthusiast, in Mexico

Walt Disney once said: “I just want [Disneyland] to look like nothing else in the world.

“And it should be surrounded by a train.”

The Lilly Belle was taken out of service in 2010 and shipped off for a boiler replacement in Pennsylvania.

Disney Dose reported that it took until 2016 to fix the train and it now operates rarely – and not at all on crowded days or in hot weather – but if you’re at the park early enough then you might get the chance to ride in it.

So it simply is luck of the drawer whether the train will be in action on any given day.

 The train was taken out of service in 2010 but returned to the park in 2016
The train was taken out of service in 2010 but returned to the park in 2016
 The Lilly Belle is a train that dates back to 1928
The Lilly Belle is a train that dates back to 1928

There are 14 spots on the train per ride, and as little as one ride per day, but sometimes more.

You have to be first in the queue for the train station to get on it – so once the park gates have opened it’s worth heading straight to the train station.

The train station’s conductor can advise on whether the train is in service that day or not.

Once on board the train, a cast member tells guests about the train’s history and they are also able to take photos of its beautiful insides.

For those who want a guaranteed ride on the train, they can book onto the Grand Circle Tour.

The tour costs $85 (£65) and guests will get a walking tour of the park, learning all about its trains, plus a train-themed doughnut and a hot drink.

Sun Online Travel previously revealed that there’s a secret disused airport at Disneyland – and its runway used to play When You Wish Upon A Star when planes took off from it.

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